Pak epicenter of terrorism, tone down expectations from talks: PM

  • Varghese K George and Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 28, 2013 12:25 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said expectations from his coming meeting with Nawaz Sharif must be toned down as Pakistan remains the epicenter of terrorism.

He is meeting the Pakistani prime minister in New York on Saturday to end a long-standing chill in relations because of continued attacks in India from Pakistan-based terrorists.

"I explained to President Obama the difficulties that we face given the fact that the epicenter of terror still remains focused in Pakistan," Singh said after his meeting with President Barack Obama.

"I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif even though the expectations have to be toned down," he added.

Ten people were killed in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, including an Army officer, in two separate suicide attacks suspected to be carried out by Pakistan-based LeT.

Obama said he and Singh discussed the tension that exists in the sub-continent. Both the US and India, he added, share an interest in a democratic peaceful Afghanistan.

"We've made enormous progress on the issue of civilian nuclear power and, in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first commercial agreement between a US company and India on civilian nuclear power," Obama said.

READ: India, US seal first commercial deal on civil nuclear power

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks as US President Barack Obama looks on, during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd were expected to sign an early works agreement to move forward the stalled civilian nuclear.

There was considerable frustration in the US over the lack of progress on the nuclear deal signed in 2008.

Obama said a new sign of closeness between the two countries was the crowning of an Indian American as Miss America 2014 - Nina Davuluri.

Across the board, the president said, Singh has been an outstanding partner and India continues to grow at an amazing rate. But, there are still those in India trapped in poverty and Singh's priority is to alleviate that and bring prosperity to India. The US wants to help him achieve that.

"Because we believe that if there's a strong India, that's good for the world and it's ultimately good for the United States of America," Obama said.

The prime minister congratulated the president on giving diplomacy a chance in both Syria and Iran. India fully supports the initiative because six million Indians live in the region.

India and US, he said are indispensable partners.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President Barack Obama during their meeting at White House in Washington. (PTI Photo)

The Indian delegation comprised external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, national security advisor Shivshankar Menon, Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao and other officials.

The US side had national security advisor Susan Rice, deputy secretary of state William Burns, and US ambassador to India Nancy Powell.

After the remarks, Singh and Obama went back for lunch.

The prime minister left for New York later in the day, for the UNGA and bilateral meetings with Sharif and the Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid.

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